So, you're good at making habits. Awesome. Are you good at sticking at them? You bet you are! But regardless, there are sometimes periods where we make mistakes, where our beloved habits fall too far into our distant memory. For me, these are the times where I feel most disappointed in myself. I feel as if I'm doing myself a disservice as I know what I have to do, I'm simply not following through on what I had previously made a commitment to.
But it's okay!
The pain that we feel is a gift. It has been given to us to push us back onto our true path, back in the right direction, back to where we want to be. This pain is a sign to us that we need to make a change because what we're doing right now just isn't working for us. So eventually, we do make that change... eventually. Without a plan, you'll be left to wallow in your pain until it eventually becomes too great for you to sit around anymore, and so you finally go and get what your after!
It could be that or, to avoid this pain, you let go of your aspirations of being greater, of growing, and you let your dream of a better existence slide away, accepting your own mediocrity.
Thankfully, I'm here to help you get the ball rolling again! Whether you've been lacking on your exercise, work, diet, cleaning, meditation, reading, hobby, or whatever it is that you're feeling guilty or disappointed about. So, let's get right into it.
What's the problem?
Recently, the issue for me has been that I had allowed a hectic few days dismantle many of my habits that bring me so much joy and pride. My reading went from a very consistent one hour a day to nothing for two whole weeks. The morning ritual that starts my day joyfully had been entirely forgotten. My endeavours with this blog have been dissipated for a month now (Restarting my writing here has been the hardest, most likely as it was very new to me and it can appear quite a daunting task at times.) Thankfully however, my exercise regime remained solid and intact. I think this is because of how long I have had this as a part of my life and how deeply committed I am to achieving in this field.
What is it that you know you're not doing enough for?
What aren't you working for that you, deep down, know you should be. Don't look back in a week, a month, or even a year in regret thinking as to how far you could have come only if you had maintained your dedication to being the best you.
Whatever it is that you're slacking on right now, remind yourself why you decided to make it a part of your life in the first place. What is it bringing to your life and what will it bring into your world if you keep at it consistently in your future. Here, you will be able to discover if this truly is a habit that is worth pursuing as you will be able to tell yourself all the amazing things that it is going to do for you, or you may discover that this habit wasn't right for you and it is worth letting go.
Dedication is admirable and a trait required for greatness, but don't be fooled into carrying on with something that isn't going to help you. Remain flexible and be accepting of cutting out what isn't working.
If you're still here, I'm guessing that you have re-discovered all of the great reasons why you brought your habit into your life in the first place and now, all you need to know is how to bring it back.
Getting Back on Track
What is it that is holding you back? Why don't you do this thing that you know deep down that you want to do? Is it because it will take too much time? Or do you find it too tiring or boring?
Often we believe that the grand goals that we are striving for blended with our will power is all we need to keep on grinding through, but as we have just learnt, this clearly is not the case.
Having reasons behind doing things and goals are really important and helpful, but they only hold so much power. If you're current exercise regime has you going from no exercise at all to 3 hours of intense training a day, you're going to get really tired, feel a lot of pain, and most likely get injured. Worst of all however, you won't be enjoying yourself and you'll question if all this suffering is really worth it. Is looking like a Greek God/Goddess all it's cracked up to be?
1/ Make sure that your task is manageable.
Make sure that consistently completing your habits brings you joy and pride, not pain and suffering. Aim for a good challenge that gets you pushing your boundaries and limits, but don't forget that they exist and burn yourself out.
Finding that perfect balance can be tricky at first, but after a while you will be able to tell for yourself where you are on the graph.
Positioning yourself centrally allows you to remain consistent as your enjoyment is peaked, but it also allows for progress in whatever you are doing as your level of challenge is pushing you to grow and learn.
2/ Don't let it scare you
Coming back and writing this today actually felt like quite a daunting task before I got going and started typing away. Oftentimes, we get stuck in our head and blow things out of proportion and sometimes, we imagine how hard or horrible it will be before it even happens! That was what happened to me, I had a picture in my head that showed me how hard and difficult and boring writing this was going to be, but now I'm here, I'm loving it!
A good tactic for stopping these kinds of behaviours is to break your task down into smaller ones. I changed my daunting task of writing this whole post into *open the website*, *Write the title*, *Write the introductory paragraph* … and so on. The smaller the task the better as it changes your perspective from having this huge, impossible looking thing in front of you to having a list of simple tasks that when culminated together, form a great achievement to be proud of.
3/ Let momentum carry you
A piece of advice I always heard when I was beginning to go to the gym was that to build the habit of regular exercise, just make it your goal to turn up. Once you arrive, you don't have to do anything, you can just pack up and go straight back home. However, what you will find if you try this for yourself is that once you're there, it feels a lot easier to go and exercise than it did earlier when you were sitting at home and so you go and get yourself your daily fix of exercise! What's even better about this though is that because your main objective was to simply to turn up, not turn up and put in an hour of hustle, it felt super easy to go from sitting at home to the gym!
Action cures fear, inaction creates terror - Douglas Horton
Once you get the ball rolling, it begins to roll itself. The hardest part is always starting due to all the worrying that goes on inside your head about how hard it will be, but once you've mustered the courage to take that first step, the rest becomes a breeze.
Your Next Steps
Let's get to work! It's your turn to look inward and decide today that you are committed to your growth, your success, and your happiness. With this commitment, answer the following questions for yourself and remain dedicated on your consistent progress with this habit.
What is the habit that you have been neglecting: _______________
What great things will be brought into your life by working at this habit: _______________
What intensity should you be working at to balance enjoyment and difficulty: _______________
What smaller tasks make up the whole of this habit: _______________
Have you been allowing your thoughts to run rampant with worry: _______________
Now that you have answered these questions, you are well equipped with the resources necessary to get yourself back into the habit of completing your habits! It's on you now, use your answers with the tactics mentioned to streamline your path and you'll be back to feeling the pride that come with dedication and hard work in no time!
The tactics above have been really useful for me and I hope they can be for you as well :)
Whatever it is in life, don't worry about falling over, about failing, remember that each failure only brings you closer to your success. Think of Thomas Edison and his quote "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
Keep loving life